Whether it’s been increased, decreased, or frozen the 2015 legislative session has seen a high level of activity from states attempting to modify their gas tax to keep up with their infrastructure needs. We’re keeping a close eye on the nearly 40 states that are still in session and hopeful they will vote “yes” for infrastructure time and again.
Among the states to watch closely are Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, South Carolina and Washington. All have hinted they might take action this year. Here’s what to expect and watch for:
- Michigan has put its funding decision in the hands of voters. They’re being asked to go to the polls on May 5th to raise the sales tax by 1% and increase vehicle registration fees. The legislature doesn’t adjourn until December so in the event the ballot measure fails, the state lawmakers will likely head back to the drawing board.
- Nebraska’s legislature is two rounds of voting away from a phased in 6-cent per gallon increase. The bill may meet opposition from the Governor, if it clears the legislature. Its next hurdle would then be a veto override.
- New Jersey is in the unusual position of having to raise revenues to preserve its Transportation Trust Fund The fund is expected to run dry sometime this summer and will indeed impact the way The Garden State maintains its highways and bridges.
- South Carolina has a number of proposals on the table. More importantly than the number of options being considered is the fact that the Legislature and the Governor will need to find common ground when it comes to raising additional revenue for roads. In her State of the State Address, Governor Nikki Haley indicated she would support no more than a 10-cent per gallon tax increase and only if there were offsets in other areas to keep the state competitive with its neighbors.
- Washington state’s legislature has proposed an 11-cent per gallon increase as part of a larger transportation funding package that would also increase a number of driver fees. With a projected adjournment date just around the corner, April 26, hopefully they will finish their work with decisive action for transportation investment.
Other states that have funding packages in the works are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Minnesota, Montana and New Hampshire. Each of these legislatures has circulated a number of legislative proposals to raise revenue for transportation. They also all have committed to improving infrastructure on the whole. Whether it’s investing in transit (Connecticut), a large scale public works proposal (Minnesota), or take two at a gas tax increase (Missouri), hopefully these states will join the movement and act before closing up shop at the statehouse.